There are many ways to make money stretch, especially when it comes to securing financial stability for future generations within the Black community.
In the Black community, hustle and education is only half the battle for economic stability. Although wealth is the backbone of financial security and opportunity, African-Americans are often restricted in this capacity. In 2019, the median wealth for Black households in the United States was $24,100 compared to white households, which was about $189,100.
Due to the systematic disadvantages like occupational segregation, which pushes Blacks into lower-paying jobs than whites, and segmented labor markets, making it harder for Blacks to enter stable and well-paying jobs, African-American families constantly find themselves at a disadvantage. High unemployment also continues to be a constant battle, making it difficult for Black Americans to make, maintain and leave behind wealth in the same capacity as their white counterparts.
Neil Nelson, CEO and founder of Diamond Diaspora Media Group, a native of Jamaica, had experienced firsthand how these issues can set back a family.
“Wealth is well-being,” Nelson said at the recent Finurah Wealth Summit. “It’s the ability to function in the world where you’re not inhibited by the cost of doing things you want to do effectively.”
Money management and financial literacy were some of the issues discussed at the summit, which also included Ray Daniels, CEO of Raydar LLC and Martha Jimenez, executive director, Wealth, JPMorgan Chase Bank. The event took place on April 23 at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs in Atlanta.
Moving to America was a pivotal part of Nelson’s life because it allowed him to transform his idea of wealth and understand how he could secure the life he wanted for himself and his family. He learned that the keys to his solution were always right in front of him.
“Our family is the solution to our financial recovery as Black people in America and the world,” Nelson said. “The reason so many of us are born into environments that are so adverse, or we experience so much stress and strain, psychology, emotionally and financially, is because our families are not as intact as they should be. Our families are not properly organized in the way they should be.”
History plays a significant role in the current state of Blacks in this country. Nelson explained, “[Black] families were purposely disintegrated when we were brought to the Americas to be slaves,” he said. “The enslavement process would not have worked if our families were not intact. The system of global domination that came out of western Europe against our people required our families to be disintegrated and disorganized.”
Nelson knew the only way to generate wealth was to reorganize his family. Eventually, his family followed him from New England to Atlanta, Georgia, where he was able to put his plan into full effect in three ways.
How Sou-Sou Savings Clubs Can Provide Short-Term Wealth
Sou-sou savings clubs are a tradition practiced by people in the Caribbean and Africa. These rotating savings clubs have continued to be a stable for immigrants in America. Sou-sou clubs are a way of creating a rotating credit association between friends, co-workers and family members that allows those involved save money of more immediate needs, such as large household purchases, Nelson said.
Sou-sou clubs can be especially helpful for those not wanting to or are unable to take out bank loans.
“Each person puts in a certain amount of money per week, and one person gets to draw that money until everyone gets a draw,” Nelson said. “We have that in our family and friend network, which is about 37 people.”
In Nelson’s experience, it’s been one of the most effective ways to save.
Invest in Your Family First for Long-Term Success
“It’s like having your own private bank in the family… no matter how rich or poor you are,” Nelson said.
Nelson and his family members started an investment club in which each person would put $100 into the account each week.
“[That account] is managed by one of the top tier investment clubs in the country,” Nelson said. “And we set that up legally and officially. The sou-sou is for short-term needs whereas the investment club is for long-term needs.”
This is so that future generations can build on this, and their family will always have this basis of assets and wealth.
Becoming Financially Literate Is Essential
Every Sunday, Nelson and his family meet at his parents’ house for book club. The literature they choose focuses on money management, sustaining wealth and organizing families and communities.
“Ultimately, this is what it takes to rebuild the Black community,” Nelson said. “This family organization is the solution to rebuilding Black wealth for Black people in America and the entire world.”